Monday, May 09, 2016

Roleplaying in the World of Thrones and Bones

For the past year or so now, I've been running a role playing game for my son, my nephew, and other boys. We play using the wonderfully customizable Fate Core System rules from Evil Hat. And we play in the world of my Thrones & Bones novels. All the boys have read the books and are well verses in the universe (as, one hopes, is the GM).

We've been playing using the mostly unmodified rules in Fate up until this point, but after we finished our last campaign in November, I've spent my time customizing the rules using some options in the Fate System Toolkit, and the result is something a bit removed from the no-alterations Fate rules. We tried it out last Saturday for the first time. (The differences are mostly in character creation and the use of magic).

Also, for the first time, we played with miniatures and terrain. Fate doesn't require this at all, but I wanted to do something special to fire everyone's imaginations. Initially, I'd planned to use Rainn Studio's utterly magnificent TerraTiles (I have both the Misty Moorlands and the Coast & Rivers sets). And we will use them. But the way this campaign started, the team was supposed to get their marching orders in the elven city of Fair Shadow, a location that is mentioned but not visited in my novel Nightborn. Since I was going to have an amazing terrain set up after they left the city and started their quest, I wanted something to show them when they arrived. I hunted around and I found the incredible Faewood Loft and its expansion set from Heroic Maps. Well, I got a little carried away and ended up printing all the tiles out and gluing them to foam boards. The result was a large battle map of a city in the trees. And having such a large map, I couldn't just use it for five minutes while the characters were given their quest and sent on their merry way. Something obviously had to go down there to justify all this time and effort, right?

So next up, using a female wood elf drawn for me by the incredible Andrew Bosley, and supplementing with some found art, I made my own pawns and populated the city. We added a small number of Paizo's Pathfinder Pawns from the Beginner Box, and we used a ton of Pathfinder Pawn Bases. I picked up some pickle barrels from a craft store (and stained them with paint pens) to add some obstacles to the environment. And, because I saw one and it got me thinking, I picked up a Bunch-o-Butterfies too, because if there's one thing that's better than a crowded market high in the trees in an elven city, it's a crowded market high in the trees in an elven city during the festival surrounding the biannual giant butterfly migration! 

The game went incredibly well, with highlights being when Thurso Greenback, a wulver, ran across a giant butterfly's back to get from one wooden platform to the next, and Blitz Ironfist, a dwarven artificer, blasted across the market using his single-use jetpack. Also, Isha the cat person did some crazy parkour. 

Ironically, we never made it out of the city in this first session, so I still haven't used the gorgeous TerraTiles from Rainn Studios that inspired me to add terrain and miniatures in the first place. They'll have to wait till our next game. Meanwhile, they were represented at the table by the use of their foam risers, which gave some parts of the city more elevation than others. (Q-workshop's awesome dice tower and Paizo's Pathfinder Combat Pad also aided in play).

But we all had a magnificent time. And that's the point, isn't it?

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